Still Crazy

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, non-16x9, Dolby Digital 5.1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital City
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 91:45 minutes  Other Extras Featurette-Behind The Scenes 
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Brian Gibson

Columbia TriStar
Starring Stephen Rea
Billy Connolly
Jimmy Nail
Timothy Spall
Bill Nighy
Juliet Aubrey
Helena Bergstrom
Bruce Robinson
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Clive Langer

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s) 
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    The retro craze in music strikes again! 1970's band Strange Fruit were riding the crest of a wave when they were struck short by lightning at a rock festival, that ended the career of the band in acrimony. The band members went their separate ways, but in general none of them have succeeded too well. Tony Costello (Stephen Rea) owns the condom vending machine supply contract for Ibiza, Les Wickes (Jimmy Nail) runs a roofing business, 'Beano' Baggot (Timothy Spall) works at a nursery, Ray Simms (Bill Nighy) is about to lose his very large mansion, whilst Brian Lovell (Bruce Robinson) is by all presumptions dead. Tony decides that with the retro craze at full speed, the time is right for Strange Fruit to reunite for another crack at rock immortality. He decides to get former groupie Karen Knowles (Juliet Aubrey) to assist and manage the whole reunion, starting with getting the band members together again. Success is achieved to the extent that even the band's former road manager Hughie (Billy Connolly) gets into the deal too. And the band tries to overcome those internal problems that wrecked their chances in the seventies.

    What follows is at times a funny, and at times a poignant, look at and tribute to the rock world of the seventies. Whilst the story is not the most coherent ever, the overall feel of the film is very believable. A typically British film, the characters are all a little eccentric and are well captured by the cast (which is a polite way of saying that the Brad Pitts of the world, these blokes aren't). It also helps that several of the cast actually are musicians, most notably Jimmy Nail who has had gold records in the United Kingdom. Highlight for me (as ever) is the laconic Billy Connolly, who also acts as narrator for the film, but there is no weak link here at all. Bill Nighy well captures the fragile ego of the lead singer who was never really accepted by some band members after the original lead died. But what really helps this film succeed is the music, and for songs specifically written for the film, this actually is pretty good music, well reminiscent of the era; certainly evocations of British blues-based bands of the seventies like Status Quo are brought to mind whilst listening to the music. The only let down possibly is that the ending is a little too predictable, but overall this is an enjoyable view indeed.

Transfer Quality


    How many times do we have to mention the standards that Columbia TriStar have set in Region 4? Well, this is another good one.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a very clear and very sharp transfer throughout, with some very nice detail throughout. Shadow detail is very good, especially considering that much of this film is shot at night and in darker buildings; this could have been a serious problem if the transfer had not been as good as it is.

    The colours are nicely vibrant throughout, although a little rich in tone. The film has an overall dark tone to it, but this comes across as a typically British, realistic palette - one frankly that I find refreshingly natural when compared to American films. The colours are consistently rendered throughout.

    MPEG artefacts? None that I noticed, apart from a very slight loss of focus in a panned shot at about 77:29. Film-to-video artefacts? None that I noticed, apart from a very minor jitter at about 53:41. Film artefacts? Some very minor blemishes that were barely noticeable at all. In other words, another fine effort from Columbia TriStar.

    Unusually however, there are some serious clangers in the packaging details regarding subtitles and languages. The packaging lists English, French and Arabic subtitles, whereas there are actually fifteen subtitles on the disc - and they do not include French or Arabic! To be fair however, Columbia TriStar have responded to our advice of this and will be fixing the error as soon as possible.


    And the very good video transfer is complemented by a very good audio transfer.

    There are two audio tracks on the DVD, being Dolby Digital 5.1 efforts in English and German. Again the packaging is in error here, stating that there is a French track instead of a German track; this too will be corrected by Columbia TriStar as soon as possible. I listened to the default English soundtrack.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync with this transfer.

    The music is credited as being from Clive Langer, but that is only part of the story. The band's repertoire - which is all original I think - has been penned by Clive Langer as well as two damn fine songwriters - Mick Jones of Foreigner and Chris Difford of Squeeze. And the result is a damn fine soundtrack that actually is damn listenable in its own right. This has really contributed enormously to the success of the film, as evidenced by the nomination for Best Song at the Golden Globes.

    This is a really nicely put together soundtrack that makes effective use of the surround channels without having the music overpower everything. The sound picture is very believable and you are very nicely placed into the action throughout.

    The bass channel was not overly used in the soundtrack, but when it was, it was very effectively used indeed. Take particular note of the one song sequence where Ray goes for a gothic feel to the song and has Hughie really crank up the sound. Very nice indeed, even for a bass sensitive person like me.


    A not especially inspiring collection of extras, but we do have the Dolby Digital City trailer.


    A little plain jane, although nicely themed. This really did cry out for some musical enhancement though.

Theatrical Trailer

    Be warned, this is not 16x9 enhanced and it is very dark indeed and creates something of a false impression of the film. Interestingly, this is the first time I can recall Dolby Digital 5.1 sound for a trailer on a DVD.
[Ed. It's not common, but there are few out there with 5.1 sound.]

Filmographies - Cast and Crew

Featurette - Behind The Scenes

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:     Unless the need for a Pan and Scan version of the film is of importance to you, there is no compelling reason to prefer one over the other, though the inherently better resolution of PAL on the Region 4 version is a factor to consider.


    Overall, I actually enjoyed Still Crazy although it was not ultimately quite what I was expecting. Entertaining and worthwhile watching, especially for some pretty good original music, and especially if you have a penchant for the music business.

    Another fine video transfer from the best at it.

    Another fine audio transfer from the best at it.

    Just a little more effort on the extras would be nice though. I would die for a Billy Connolly commentary on this film and a music only soundtrack!

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
13th November 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL